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True Crime

Hell’s Wasteland

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, True Crime
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Did the Mad Butcher of Cleveland also strike in Pennsylvania?

From 1934 to 1938, Cleveland, Ohio, was racked by a classic battle between good and evil. On one side was the city’s safety director, Eliot Ness. On the other was a nameless phantom dubbed the “Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” who littered the inner city with the remains of decapitated and dismembered corpses. Never caught or even officially identified, the Butcher simply faded into history, leaving behind a frightening legend that both haunts and fascinates Cleveland to this day. In 2001 the Kent State University Press published James Jessen Badal’s In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders, the first serious, book-length treatment of this dark chapter in true crime history. Though Murder Has No Tongue: The Lost Victim of Cleveland’s Mad Butcher—a detailed study of the arrest and mysterious death of Frank Dolezal, the only man ever charged in the killings—followed in 2010.

 


Nameless Indignities

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Upon discovering that her great-great aunt was the victim and central figure in one of Illinois’s most notorious crimes, author Susan Elmore set out to learn more. She uncovered a perplexing case that resulted in multiple suspects, a lynch mob, charges of perjury and bribery, a failed kidnapping attempt, broken family loyalties, lies, cover-ups, financial devastation, and at least two suicides.

 


Poachers Were My Prey

| Filed under: Black Squirrel Books, Nature, True Crime
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For nearly two decades, Stewart infiltrated poaching rings throughout Ohio, the Midwest, and beyond. Poachers Were My Prey chronicles his many exciting undercover adventures, detailing the techniques he used in putting poachers behind bars. It also reveals, for the first time, the secrets employed by undercover wildlife officers in catching the bad guys.

 


Guilty by Popular Demand

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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The townsfolk of Logan, Ohio, a mined-out area of the Appalachian foothills, cheered as an innocent man was convicted and sent to death row. The occasion was the conviction of Dale N. Johnston. His trial ended nothing; the tragedies had just begun. What really happened on that bitter cold day in January 1984 was the total collapse of the local criminal justice system.

 


The Supernatural Murders

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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This anthology of thirteen true crime stories includes the mysterious slaying of Charles Walton, who was found slashed and pierced to death in an area notorious for its associations with black magic; the murder of Eric Tombe, whose body was located because of a recurring dream in which his mother saw Eric down a well; the terrorizing of Hammersmith, London, in the early nineteenth century by the nocturnal appearance of a “ghost”; the Salem witchcraft trials; the murder of Rasputin, who was believed by some in Russia to be a miracle worker and by others to be a dangerous charlatan; a Scottish tale in which evidence given by the ghost of the victim was allowed at the murderer’s trial; and the bizarre goings-on at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York, where Ronnie DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family—the new occupants were subjected to all manner of sinister events, including the presence of poltergeists, or were they?

 


The Christmas Murders

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Here are ten murder cases of “the old-fashioned sort”—evoking a nostalgia more obviously associated with fiction—that all took place during the festive period from mid-December to Twelfth Night between 1811 and 1933. In The Christmas Murders, Jonathan Goodman has collected stories as fascinating and compulsively readable as one would expect from a writer described by Jacques Barzun as “the greatest living master of true-crime literature” and by Julian Symons as “the premier investigator of crimes past.”

 


Born to Lose

| Filed under: True Crime, True Crime History
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Stanley Barton Hoss was a burglar, thief, and local thug from the Pittsburgh area. In eight short months in 1969, however, he became a rapist, prison escapee, murderer, and kidnapper; the subject of an intense nationwide manhunt; and one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. In Born to Lose, author James G. Hollock traces Hoss from his earliest misdemeanors at the age of fourteen to a daring rooftop escape from the Allegheny Workhouse in Blawnox, Pennsylvania, where he was being held on a rape charge, to his killing of police officer Joseph Zanella in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, to the kidnapping near Cumberland, Maryland, and his ultimate murder of Linda Peugeot and her two-year-old daughter Lori in the autumn of 1969. Their bodies have never been found.

 


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